MAC: Mines and Communities

The Battle Is Far From Over

Published by MAC on 2004-12-03
Source: LRC-KSK Friends of the Earth Philippines

The Battle is far from over

Network Statement from LRC-KSK

3rd December 2004

On 01 December 2004, we received the news that the Supreme Court, by a vote of 10 to 4 with one abstention, granted the Motions for Reconsideration filed by the government, Western Mining Corporation Philippines (WMCP), and Intervenor Chamber of Mines of the Philippines (CMP), in the case of La Bugal-B’laan Tribal Association, et al. versus Secretary Victor O. Ramos, et al. (G.R. No. 127882). In granting the Motions for Reconsideration, the Supreme Court reversed and set aside its decision made last 27 January 2004. It thus ruled that Republic Act No. 7942 or the Philippine Mining Act of 1995, its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR), and the WMCP Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) were constitutional after all.

The 246-page decision penned by Justice Artemio V. Panganiban, was concurred in by Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide Jr., Justices Reynato S. Puno, Leonardo A. Quisumbing, Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Alicia Austria-Martinez, Renato C. Corona, and Dante O. Tinga, as well as by new Justices Minita Chico-Nazario and Cancio C. Garcia. Those who dissented were Justices Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, Antonio T. Carpio, Conchita Carpio-Morales, and Romeo J. Callejo. Justice Adolfo A. Azcuña did not take part because he was a former counsel of WMCP.

Last 27 January 2004, the Supreme Court, by a vote of 8 to 5 with one abstention, originally ruled that certain provisions of the Mining Law, its IRR, and the WMCP FTAA were all unconstitutional; thus, void and illegal. The previous decision was penned by Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales and was concurred in by Chief Justice Davide, Justices Puno, Quisumbing, Carpio, Corona, Callejo, and Tinga. Justices Panganiban and Jose C. Vitug (now retired) issued separate opinions that generally dissented with the majority. Justices Ynares-Santiago, Sandoval-Gutierrez, and Austria- Martinez joined Justice Panganiban in his separate opinion.

We have not yet received our official copy of the new decision, but it is not surprising to us. We are very much aware that larger interests are at play in this case- the way government harps about mining being the solution to our financial crisis; the way the mining industry and its allied interests bombard the media with its deceptions of economic growth and social responsibility; the way our public officials, both national and local, have been reduced to being mere mouthpieces of multinational mining interests.

It may look like we have lost but the fight is not yet over. We have not given up. We will never give up. We have considered this option long before and are now in the process of calibrating our response. We have a Plan B and we are doing it. We are obligated to engage. We are definitely filing a Motion for Reconsideration to this new decision, subject, of course, to the collective consent of the Petitioners we represent.

The case is not yet final. The new Supreme Court decision does not mean that the mining campaign is lost. This is merely a legal battle. Legal battles are engaged on legal grounds. The mining campaign is so much more than just the legal.

Freedoms are more meaningful when they are the result of collective struggle. Your help in this continuing crusade will be most welcome.


Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center, Inc.
Kasama sa Kalikasan/ Friends of the Earth – Philippines
No. 7 Marunong Street, Central East District
Diliman, Quezon City 1101

Telephone no. (02)928-1372
Fax no. (02)920-7172

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